In This Update:
Budget Hearings Update: Department of Community and Economic Development
This week, during the Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearing with the Department of Community and Economic Development, I urged DCED Secretary Dennis Davin to promote energy tax credits to help jump start the economy.
Last year, the General Assembly approved Act 66, the Local Resource Manufacturing Tax Credit, which has the potential to attract petrochemical manufacturers and create 5,000 new jobs in northeastern Pennsylvania, by taking advantage of an abundant and affordable supply of natural gas.
During the hearing, I also stressed the importance of jobs as Pennsylvania rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic and noted that the computer data center industry has the ability to generate $5.8 billion in economic impact and creating 30,000 jobs in Pennsylvania.
I also asked Secretary Davin about the State Facility Closure Transition Program and noted that we needed a long range plan to recover from the loss of jobs and the loss of $100 million in annual economic impact to our region due to the closures of SCI-Retreat and White Haven State Center.
Senators Highlight Wolf Administration Policy Fails, Call for Governor to Fully Engage with Long-Term Care Community
One year after the Wolf Administration ordered the state’s long term care community to accept COVID-19 patients, I stood with Senator Judy Ward (R-30), chair of the Senate’s Aging and Youth Committee and other Senators to highlight the ongoing lack of accountability and cooperation from Governor Wolf while calling on the Governor to fully engage with the state’s long-term care community.
At the press conference, we highlighted the Wolf Administration’s orders impacting long-term care facilities, the lack of availability for widespread testing for facility employees, the shortage of PPE at long-term care facilities and the initial exclusion of the long-term care community from vaccine rollout planning.
Honoring the Life of Pat Solano
This week, Senator Lisa Baker (R-20) and I offered a Senate condolence resolution and remarks on the floor to honor the life of Pat Solano who passed away in January. I had the great pleasure to become a friend and confidante of Pat Solano over the last twenty years and I admired his political acumen and marveled at his longevity.
Personal Income Tax Filing Deadlines Extended to May 17
The deadline for taxpayers to file their state and federal personal income tax returns has been extended from April 15 to May 17. The extension provides additional time for taxpayers to navigate the difficulties stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension applies both to tax filing and payments.
Pennsylvania taxpayers can now file their state personal income tax returns online at mypath.pa.gov.
Eight Counties Added to Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine
The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species that feeds on many types of plants that are important to Pennsylvania’s economy. Eight counties were recently added to the quarantine zone, bringing the statewide total to 34 counties under restriction.
One estimate found that under a worst-case scenario, the spotted lanternfly could lead to more than $550 million in expected losses for Pennsylvania’s economy and nearly 5,000 jobs lost. Pennsylvanians are encouraged to report sightings of the spotted lanternfly by calling 1-888-422-3359 and to destroy any egg masses or spotted lanternflies they see.
PennDOT CDL and Learner’s Permit Extensions End March 31
The expiration dates for commercial driver licenses (CDL) and commercial learner’s permits have been extended several times during the COVID-19 pandemic. The final extension is scheduled to expire on March 31, and no additional extensions are expected to be offered.
Motorists who are covered by extensions that run from March 16, 2020, through March 31, 2021, are encouraged to renew these licenses and permits as soon as possible before they expire next week.
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